H&W Welder' Gary Smyth fears a County Antrim Shield backlash from wounded Glentoran
Gary Smyth fears a Glentoran backlash when his H&W Welders side attempt to engineer a shock at The Oval tonight.
The Championship One leaders have won four of their opening five league battles but Glentoran legend Smyth expects his old club to adopt a no-risk policy this evening and aim for a County Antrim Shield triumph that will inject some momentum into their campaign.
Eddie Patterson's side have only won two of their eight league clashes to date and defeat would deepen the gloom on Mersey Street but they have been boosted by the news that the Welders' two dangermen Michael McLellan and former Oval hero David Rainey are sidelined by injury.
Rainey needed six staples in a head wound despite scoring both goals in the 2-0 win at Lisburn Distillery on Saturday and this game has come too soon while McLellan has a knee injury.
Smyth believes the Glens will come out firing.
"We are looking forward to it and there is no pressure on our boys but Glentoran have been inconsistent this season and they will view this match as an opportunity to start getting some momentum," said the former centre-back who won the County Antrim Shield twice in Glens colours and once with Glenavon.
"I don't think the Glens can afford to take any chances this time. They need a result as there hasn't been much consistency to their game. They will field as strong a team as they can while we will be out to give a good account of ourselves.
"Michael and Davy have 21 goals between them this season so their loss will be felt but Josh Cahoon has Premier League experience with Dungannon Swifts and Chris Middleton is as fit as a fiddle."
Seven first-round ties kick off tonight with holders Cliftonville beginning the defence of their title away to Championship One outfit Ballyclare Comrades.
Championship Two side Newington YC travel to Windsor Park to take on Linfield while Crusaders journey across Belfast to take on Donegal Celtic.
There is one first-round tie tomorrow night with PSNI taking on Ards at Clandeboye Road.
Tonight's Toals County Antrim Shield first round fixtures (7.45pm): Glentoran v H&W Welders, Linfield v Newington, Donegal Celtic v Crusaders, Ballymena United v Glebe Rangers, Bangor v Carrick Rangers, Ballyclare Comrades v Cliftonville, Larne v Sport and Leisure Swifts.